With Microsoft getting the Xbox Music ecosystem off the ground — it’s available in about as many places as most rival services — we’d hoped that Microsoft might have some secret plan to get more listeners to the service. As it turns out, it did. Yesterday the company announced a new Xbox Music API and Affiliate program that are specifically designed to let developers get access to the service’s catalogue and let websites earn money for attracting users to the service.

Developers and app creators will have access to album art, music meta data, artist images, the Xbox Music search API and a list of top albums and artists now available on Xbox Music. The API then allows them to surface that information on their website or in their app at no charge. The information shared through the API also includes deep links into the Xbox Music Store, so that users can pick up the songs and albums they are interested in seamlessly. Online publications and anyone with influence should be able to use the Xbox Music Affiliate Program to their advantage. In fact, the system sounds tailor-made forties like the The Rolling Stone and sites who frequently review the latest music.

All told, it seems Microsoft is hoping that the affiliate program and API will help it reach users through lifestyle brands and other avenues that it doesn’t already directly market to. That’s great news, though we’d like to point out that Zune Music, Xbox Music’s forbearer also offered an affiliate program and yet we still find ourselves report on its successor. The Xbox Music API and Xbox Music Affiliate Program are available now.